Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Greeky to Miki

by B.T.

I used to work in this Greek restaurant in the Queens, called Miki’s Coliseum. Well, it started off as Coliseum and then it changed to just Miki’s. It was basically a diner with fancy gold mirrors on the walls and a water fountain in the back by the bar. All that stuff you see and hear about Greek places like, “Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger”, or “Opah!” It’s all fuckin’ true. I mean every stereotype you can think of; it’s all true. I’m not saying that’s it bad, it’s just true.
My boss Miki was this stout, happy man. He would greet anyone who would walk into the place with a menu in his hand.
“Welcome! May I recommend the Pasticcio today? Oh, please make yourself at home. My house is your kingdom. The baklava is beautiful. You must try it. I won’t take no for your answers.”
Miki had a younger brother named Niki. Miki and Niki. Their real names were Mikolos and Nikolos Papadapalos.
Niki was autistic. He was capable of doing things by himself, but he needed Miki to watch over him. When Miki wasn’t around to greet people at the door, Niki would do it. He would say these things that would throw people off.
“Welcome to my mansion. I will let you borrow it for a few hours,” or “The minute you eat our delicious food, you will become Greek. You will be a part of the Papadapalos family.”
One time this guy comes in and he says, “Miki’s? What kind of food you serve here?” And Niki says “ It’s Greeky.” And the guy says, “Greeky?”
“Yeah. It’s all Greeky to Miki and Niki and Vicki, but I got to tell you, there is no Vicki.”
From that day on, we would all say the same thing. “It’s all Greeky to Miki, Niki and Vicki, but there is no Vicki.”
One day Miki comes in real late and he looks like shit. He just looked miserable. He said that Niki was missing. Niki went out, like he always did, to buy the newspaper. It literally took him 2 to 3 minutes. Miki said he didn’t worry right away because Niki liked to pet the cat that belonged to the newsstand. 10 minutes pass, 15, now 20 minutes have gone by. Miki goes out to the stand and he sees no Niki. He asks the newspaper guy if he saw Niki, and he says yes, but like a half an hour ago.
He said he searched the neighborhood all night. He called the cops and they were looking. Everyone who knew Niki was out looking for him. They knew he had to be around somewhere, you know, he just couldn’t disappear like that, but he was gone. Months go by and no Niki. Miki became real depressed. Sometimes he just wouldn’t show up. I started greeting people at the door. “Welcome to Miki’s Coliseum.”
He put Niki’s photo on the cover of the menu with the words, “MISSING, HAVE YOU SEEN NIKI.” The Coliseum was never the same. Miki fired me a month later. He said he didn’t like the way I was greeting people. It wasn’t too long after, that he closed the diner. I think Miki went back to Greece. I’m not sure. They did find Niki’s bones about 2 years later, in Brooklyn, in some Dumpster. Rumor was that they said that Miki did it, but I don’t think so. Maybe he did do it? He really loved Niki though. We all did.

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